There is a common, slightly pejorative term used to describe certain people with a scientific ortechnical background -nerd . Nerds are defined as people slavishly devoted to academic pursuits. They are supposed to be intelligent but socially awkward , lost in equations and formulae, and disconnected from the real world. Not every person with atechnical background is socially inept. However, I being from the species,humbly accept there are enough nerds in this world to create the stereotype. Many of us find it easier to solve differential calculus than say, speak to strangers at a party. I have been tagged as a nerd at various stages of my life, especially while being turned down by women (as in ‘i’d prefer being a nun to being seen with a nerd like you’ , or ‘go solve your physics problems nerd, the Stephanian already asked me out’ ).I accept it. Sometimes it is difficult for nerds to articulate or absorb what is really happening in the real world. Nerds like to solve problems, and get quite uncomfortable if they cannot answer in a certain number of steps. Hence, it is relatively easy for a nerd to figure out how a rocket is launched into space, which though complex, has a set solvable path. It is much harder for nerds to approach questions like, ‘how to get this girl to like me’ , or more seriously, issues like ‘how to solve corruption’ or ‘why is the Indian economy and politics in such a mess?’I accept it – we in our rigorous yet narrowminded scientific education, find it difficult to approach subjective issues. That is why we are called nerds.However, after accepting the flaws of my own species, allow me to point a tiny finger at our humanities stream brethren. Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to introduce a new, nerd-equivalent category for our ‘liberal arts’ background people -the lerds.The lerds are our so-called ‘liberal arts’ , or in India simply the ‘arts’ students who are supposed to be open-minded , visionary and articulate about social issues. Some of these people, with their background in wonderful liberal arts subjects, are our intellectuals. They sit on thinktank committees and participate in debates to solve issues facing our country. Lerds give 45-minute speeches in conferences held at posh Delhi venues on topics ranging from the environment , corruption to poverty eradication, FDI, girl child, healthcare and infrastructure. Lerds can be spotted in TV debates on English news channels (but never on entertainment or vernacular channels). Female lerds often prefer an ethnic yet classy look.Unlike nerds who shiver at the thought of public speaking, lerds can speak on any issue. When they do, they sound intelligent even though their point is often not clear. Warm, fuzzy feelings run through their listeners as they see the lerds’ grasp of issues like the primacy of Parliament and their use of wonderful terms like ‘need of the hour’ (notice the urgency. Not need of the week, month or year – need of the hour!) .Lerds know it all. They understand nuance like a nerd never would. However, unlike nerds who love solutions, lerds have one defining, important trait. Despite all their intelligence, grasp and knowledge, lerds hate solutions. For solutions mean there is a direction set to solve the problem, and then there is not much debate left. And where is the fun in that? So if a Lokpal bill is proposed as a starting step to solve corruption, lerds will hate it.Because according to them ‘the need of the hour’ is to remove corruption. However , how exactly that will be done is not the lerds’ concern. So if for inflation, solutions like reduction in government subsidies and productivity improvement infrastructure projects are proposed , they will shoot it down with a ‘it is not that simple’ or a ‘India is not that easy to figure out’ . For you see, all that lerds are interested in is to figure out the problem (and show the world how smart they are in figuring it out). Proposing or backing a solution is for plebians and nerds. Lerds are above all this.Where do lerds come from? Well, they are often a result of the flawed Indian education system , which focuses on knowledge more than application . Even in science subjects, but particularly in the arts, Indian students can score good marks by rote knowledge, rather than being forced to apply themselves. Teaching materials and methods in humanities are archaic and outdated . Many post-graduates in wonderful subjects like sociology, philosophy, psychology and economics have excellent knowledge, but find it difficult to apply their knowledge to the Indian context, and impossible to give a specific solution.Of course, not every liberal arts student is a lerd (just as every tech student is not a nerd). However , it is time we accept that intelligent yet inept people exist on both sides- the sciences and the arts. Knowledge is only one part of education; the other, equally important aspect is application. Nerds need to integrate their problem solving abilities to the real world. Lerds need to learn how to solve problems rather than just pontificate. The arts and science streams are just man-made divisions. To make progress, we Indians need to learn and apply from both disciplines. I hereby propose a truce between the nerds and the lerds, who should come together and learn from each other. After all, isn’t that the need of the hour?